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Winners Announced For ‘The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish’

Web: www.fishfoto.com — E-Mail: fish@flyingwithfish.com

16/07/2008 – Winners Announced For ‘The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish’

Choosing the top three ‘worst case scenarios’ most deserving of the Mountainsmith Parallax photo backpack for first place; the Mountainsmith Day Pack for second place and the Mountainsmith Cyber II for the third place was difficult.

I have read more than 100 entries (and tossed a few, including a personal favourite that involved being abducted by aliens) before whittling down the entries to make it to the ‘next round.’ From this ‘next round’ I sought the insight from a few expert travelers. The decision on the final three entries has taken a few days of deliberations. I hoped to have my winners first thing Tuesday morning, but in reality I kept coming back to five entries, and ultimately had to make my decisions from these final five.

So what were the winning entries in the ‘The Great Mountainsmith Bag Give Away From Flying With Fish’? Let’s find out!

1st Place: David Ringrose takes home a Mountainsmith Parallax!
Have Crowbar, Will Travel
I was traveling by rail in Portugal, watching the countryside go by. Suddenly there was a horrble screeching noise, and I saw that rocks and pieces of metal were flying past the carriage windows at a high rate of speed. My first thought was, “We’ve been derailed!” So I grabbed the bottom of my bench seat waiting for the carriage to tip one way or the other.

The locals began sticking their heads out the windows, this seemed crazy to me since things were still whizzing past. Luckily nothing was flying up at an angle to hit one of these brave, or stupid, souls. The train slowed and came to a stop, and several of us got off the train to see what had happened. The brakeman was out of the locomotive looking at a small car that was now attached to the front of the locomotive and there was a man running in our direction from the other direction, the driver as I later learned.

Immediately, visions of being stuck here for hours waiting on the Portugese version of the NTSB to show up, while my friend who was being married in two days waited for me to arrive at my destination. I walked forward to see if I could be of any assistance. As I walked past the locomotive the engineer handed me a crowbar, using the international, “take this” sign, since I don’t speak Portugese.

Thankfully there was no one in the car, and amazingly the car radio was still playing. Several of the men were trying to push the car off the tracks. When they saw me with the crowbar they waved me up onto the car. So I crawled up there and started prying the car and locomotive apart at a couple of points where they’d become melded together. With a lot of heaving and pidgin and about ten minutes of work we managed to get the two separated and were on our way. Leaving behind one destroyed small car, with a working radio, and an upset, yet relieved driver. We managed to get to my destination only twenty minutes late.

My travel tips from this experience. Follow the wisdom of the Hitchhiker’s Guide [to the Galaxy], DON’T PANIC. It also helps to keep your sense of humor, and your worst case
scenario can become an adventure, and a great story.

(Sidenote from Fish: I love the 4th book in the Hitchhikers Guide trilogy “So Long and Thanks For All The Fish”)

2nd Place: Rikk Flohr (www.fleetingglimpse.com) takes home a Mountainsmith Day!
“My scheduled 20-day shoot began on June 1st of this year. I would shoot a sculpture workshop at Mt. Rushmore, Waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon, Devil’s Tower, a family reunion, a family portrait, and a week camping in the Bighorn Mountains.

I arrived at Rushmore on Monday – Day 2 and attended the workshop without my gear to scope the location. Afterwards, I secured a campsite at Grizzly Gulch and decided to hike in to photograph the Grizzly Bear Falls. Forgoing my entire backpack of gear, I slung a 40D with 17-40 and a 5D with a 70-200 zoom over each shoulder and set out.

Recent heavy rains eroded the stream banks rather severely. The boulder at the base of the falls onto which I stepped gave way, tipping me into the stream, depositing me and my gear into a 5-foot deep pool of icy rushing water. The 5D and telephoto zoom went completely under. The 40D and wide angle zoom were doused but I managed to get them out of the water quickly. It took nearly 10 seconds of flailing about to get my feet underneath me and the cameras out of the water.

Sloshing back to my tent, I reflected on my options. I was on Day 2 of a 20 day safari and I was without my main camera and my backup without having fired a shutter. My cell phone was protected in my breast pocket and still worked, as did the key fob for my Prius so I had transportation and phone service. I called my wife and had her ship my backup 5D and my ancient 20D via Fed Ex for a Day 4 arrival. I called my insurance company (I carry a rider for my gear) and reported the accident.

Two trips into Rapid City for desiccant and the ultimate post-mortems at Ritz Camera to satisfy the underwriter and I had assurances a check was on the way. Day 4 came, the backup gear arrived. I was back in business. My wife called on Day 5 and had the check in hand. The order to B&H was placed and on Day 9, the replacement gear was delivered. One shoot was cancelled due to lack of gear and a few shots were salvaged by using the 2.0 MP cell
phone camera to get the shots I needed for my blog.

Days 10-20 were a picnic by comparison.”

Third Place: Melody Bostad (www.oneeyedesigns.com) takes home a Mountainsmith Cyber II!
I should be used to it by now. I live in Seattle! Yet, there I was, in Boston on July 4 all set to photograph fireworks for the first time. My friend and I staked out a great location hours before the start of the show. I didn’t have any problems setting up the tripod, camera
settings and cable release were ready – and then the rain came. It wasn’t just a light drizzle but the kind of rain you can swim in. Put my hat on my Canon 20D to help protect it from the water but I didn’t even have a lens hood on the camera so rain was pelting the lens, ruining any chance of still getting a decent shot of the fireworks. Not wanting to lose my spot in search of protection from the elements, I tore up a walking map of Boston I had in my pocket, wrapped it around the lens, and swiped my friend’s hair tie to secure the paper. Viola! A temporary lens hood. I happened to have a clear plastic shower cap that I took from the hotel a while back (read in a book that they can be useful in such a situation) and placed it around the rest of the camera. I ended up getting some great shots of the fireworks and even better memories.

My next stop on my vacation was New York were I bought a camera rain protector from B & H

I want to thank everyone for their entries, and I especially want to thank Mountainsmith for their support of Flying With Fish‘s reader……..and Ingrid at Mountainsmith! Without Ingrid this contest would never have existed. THANK YOU INGRID!

Happy Flying!

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